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JRC Report: Comparing reported forest biomass gains and losses in European and global datasets

01.08.2021

JRC Report: Comparing reported forest biomass gains and losses in European and global datasets

"Net CO2 emissions and sequestration from European forests are the result of removal and growth of flora. To arrive at aggregated measurements of these processes at a country’s level, local observations of increments and harvest rates are up-scaled to national forest areas. Each country releases these statistics through their individual National Forest Inventory using their particular definitions and methodologies. In addition, five international processes deal with the harmonization and comparability of such forest datasets in Europe, namely the IPCC, SOEF, FAOSTAT, HPFFRE, FRA (definitions follow in the article). In this study, we retrieved living biomass dynamics from each of these sources for 27 European Union member states. To demonstrate the reproducibility of our method, we release an open source python package that allows for automated data retrieval and analysis, as new data becomes available. The comparison of the published values shows discrepancies in the magnitude of forest biomass changes for several countries. In some cases, the direction of thesechanges also differs between sources. The scarcity of the data provided, along with the low spatial resolution, forbids the creation or calibration of a pan-European forest dynamics model, which could ultimately be used to simulate future scenarios and support policy decisions. To attain these goals, an improvement in forest data availability and harmonization is needed."

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Source: European Commission (JRC)